José Mourinho's long anticipated return to the Premier League was preceded by a rare visit from Roman Abramovich to the home dressing room to address the players as Chelsea presented a united front after all the discord and rancour of last season.
The Portuguese manager received a rapturous reception from the home support and duly saw his team ease to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Hull to kickstart his second spell in charge, extending his unbeaten Premier League run at home to 61 games.
Mourinho subsequently confirmed attempts are continuing in the hope of adding a forward to the ranks before the closure of the transfer window on 2 September with Abramovich, who had sanctioned the two recent failed bids for Wayne Rooney, prepared to pursue the manager's preferred target.
The Russian's own decade in charge was also celebrated here and, with memories of Roberto Di Matteo's dismissal and the controversial appointment of Rafael Benítez as an interim replacement last season still raw, the oligarch made a point of speaking to the players before kick-off. "It's great, especially for the players, to feel the atmosphere around the place," said Mourinho. "It's the fifth season I've started with Chelsea but the first time Mr Abramovich has come to the dressing room to be with us before the match.
"Everyone knows what Chelsea did in the last 10 years, so it's better to focus on that than on some negative moments we had in the recent history. We are together and know where we want to go."
Asked whether a third bid is imminent for Rooney, a player Manchester United insist will not be sold this summer, Mourinho's response suggested the club remain in the market for a striker even if their pursuit of the England forward has been frustrated. "We will try till the last day to add a new player to the squad," he said. "A striker. But in this moment every striker has a club. Every striker belongs to somebody. And I don't think it's ethical I name players who belong to other clubs.
"But you know which players we can sniff a situation with and always in an ethical way. If we have to make a bid, we make it in an official way. We don't speak to players but to clubs. We don't try to influence players to behave in a certain way, as other clubs do. We behave in the correct manner and we'll try for that until the last day of the transfer window."
Chelsea's goals were scored by Oscar and Frank Lampard, the latter having earlier missed a penalty, and the returning manager was impressed by the manner in which his charges tore into newly promoted opponents. "I've managed so many times here and won so many matches here but we've not had many periods like that for quality," said Mourinho. "When I saw the second half going in another direction, at the beginning I was frustrated because I want more. But after five minutes I thought we didn't because we couldn't.
"We can't play that way for 90 minutes. We had no energy, no physical energy and no mental availability to play that way. The three boys behind Fernando [Torres] were fantastic but in the second half they disappeared. All of them played national team matches [in midweek] and, when the creativity disappeared, we lost the danger in our game. But the match was already dead by then.
"The reception I received was fantastic, amazing, and they gave me more than I deserve. I'm a bit shy in the face of the fans' reaction. I don't feel very comfortable with that. But now the fans have to support the team, sing about the players and the club, not José. José knows how much they like me and how happy they are to have me back."
His opposite number, Steve Bruce, could draw encouragement from his team's second-half showing, as well as the performance of his summer signing Allan McGregor in goal who added other fine saves to his block from Lampard's penalty. "We won't be playing Chelsea every week," said the manager. "We all know how difficult it's going to be. Even the so-called 'smaller teams' have invested a lot of money, clubs like Southampton, Swansea and Norwich, teams we'll be up against. So we know how difficult it'll be but let's make a fist of it."
Asked his opinion on the owner Assem Allam's decision to drop the "AFC" suffix from the club's official name after 109 years, to market them instead as the Tigers at home and abroad, Bruce added: "I think the PR could have handled it a bit better. I'm a traditionalist. But given the money our guy's put into Hull City, if he wants us to play in pink he's entitled to do it. A year or so ago Cardiff changed their colours and there was uproar. Then they're promoted and is their uproar now? You'd have to ask the owner why he's done it. Maybe he thinks Hull City Tigers is the way forward."